Why Tripods Matter by Jamie Bright

They’re heavy, clunky, and definitely not easy to fit into a camera bag!

However, when it comes to long exposures, stitched panoramic shots, or the fact that maybe you’re a little shaky and haven’t got your camera holding skills down, tripods can save the day!

Some people say they should be the second purchase of photography equipment after the camera itself. I’m not sure about that, but for sure, they are important!

Nowadays, they are made from lighter materials such as carbon fibre, or aluminum – making them easier to carry. They can even fold down smaller so they can fit onto nicely made harnesses on your backpack or camera bag.

They range in price a LOT – and you don’t always get what you pay for.
For example, you can buy a super cheap tripod and be done, or you could opt to use a wall or a beanbag with a 2 second self timer – money saved!
Or, you can splash out on a super expensive big brand tripod which will cost almost $1000 – in which you are paying for the quality and sturdiness of the tripod, along with a heavier payload capability, all wrapped up in a super light package.

Don’t be foolish though when buying – sometimes if you look online or in magazines, you see a tripod for sale at $500 and it fits your budget, but, IT DOESN’T COME WITH A HEAD! This is sometimes confusing and weirded me out a little at first – why just sell tripod legs? It didn’t make sense.

Well, manufacturers understand that although you need a tripod, you may need a different type of head for the type of photography (or video) you’ll be doing.

A macro photographer may want a sliding rail head. A landscape photographer may desire a lever style or perhaps even a ball-head. 

ballheads.jpg

Anyhoo, think about what you’re shooting in terms of subject, and then think about your equipment, because your tripod needs to be secure enough to hold the weight of your camera, lens, and any accessories you may have (filters, mics, etc). Check out those weight restrictions!

Tripods support various other items on them – lighting, flashguns, strobes, softboxes remote devices etc. They’re not just for the cameras.

Personally, I have 2 tripods. One is a carbon fibre Gitzo and although sturdy – I don’t like the ball-head and plate that came with it. So I also have a Benro slim tripod (also carbon fibre for lightness) – which was cheaper than buying a new head for the Gitzo.

If I’m honest, I use the Gitzo legs and the cheapy Benro ballhead. My camera equipment isn’t too heavy that it needs that super expensive head.

Enough about me …
You want the tripod to be sturdy. If it’s windy, you can weigh a tripod down further by attaching your camera bag to the bottom of the center column. Most include a hook for this purpose.
Also, personally, I only extend the thickest legs of my tripod, so it has a better footing and solidarity. Just personal preference, unless I need the full height.

Lastly, if you’re into action, consider a monopod instead – these, as the name suggest have only one leg, and you can freely move it around – great for quickly changing direction and moving.
You can even buy monopods that double as walking poles. 2 for 1. I’ve Never tried them – but I am sure they work just great.

To recap
Keep your tripod sturdy.
Don’t forget to include the price of your tripod head when buying a tripod.
Work within your budget!
Enjoy!

What's in my Bag? by Jamie Bright

Recently, I’ve been reducing and minimizing my equipment to make things easier to maintain and lighter to carry. With mirrorless cameras these days, weight is less of a worry. Which also removes stress from what bag to use!

Here’s a list of gear that’s either my actual bag, or in my bag almost 100% of the time!

Bags
Manfrotto MB MS-BP-IGR Medium
Billingham Hadley Pro

Photographic equipment
Fuji X-T3

16mm F1.4
23mm F2
35mm F1.4 Manual focus lens
18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS
55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
5 x batteries + charger
SunwayFoto L plate
Gitzo GT1542 tripod
Benro TSL08C tripod ballhead
8 x Sandisk 32GB SD cards
Amaran AL-M9 pocket light + filters
Gobe filters (UV, CPL, 10 Stop ND)
Hex key

Computer equipment
Dell XPS 13″ + charger
Apple iPad
LaCie Porsche 500GB external SSD
Mophie Powerstation PD XL
Cables (Micro USB, USB-C, Lightning)

Tools & Accessories
Leatherman Skeletool
Rayban sunglasses
Apple Airpods
Business cards
Hat & gloves

There you have it. It’s all pretty lightweight and each serves a function. I’ve tried to reduce as much as I can while maintaining everything I may need while taking photographs or working remotely.

I’m slowly transitioning to editing on the iPad with Lightroom CC. It means I can leave the 13” Dell XPS at home and travel lighter.

Street Photography Tips by Jamie Bright

Being able to capture that moment in time gives you a great feeling. Missing a shot gives you a moment of disappointment, but that quickly passes. So don’t despair!

This article is aimed at newcomers to the street photography scene. You may lack courage, or may not know a quick style of shooting.

Here are 5 tips to help you just capture shots on the street.

Aperture Priority Mode

Using aperture priority mode on your camera will allow you to set your aperture and let the camera do the rest of the work. Especially if you’re in auto focus mode too! The term “set it and forget it” comes to mind.
Using f8 for example will ensure your subject and background is mostly in focus – unless it’s dark. Set your min shutter speed and max ISO accordingly.

Get close

Most street photography is taken using a 35 or 50mm lens. Great for capturing scenes, but you may find subjects appear too far away. Get closer to your subject. They won’t bite. If they do, be nice and show them your image and be respectful if they prefer it deleted. Offer to email it to them. Also take the opportunity to ask them if you can take more shots of them – once a conversation has begun, talk talk talk and shoot shoot shoot. Work those angles. You may even ask them to pose for you – don’t feel afraid to ask them to move to a cleaner background, or to mimic a gesture.

Use your dual SD card slots!

As in #2 above, if you’re in a public place and you’ve taken a photo of somebody, yet they’ve asked you to delete it – your dual SD card slots will be a savior. You can set your camera to write to both slots, and thus you’ll still have that shot when you get home.
For me, I shoot in JPG and RAW, so when I delete a file, the JPG gets deleted and I am left with the RAW file which I can edit!

Get drunk on coffee

Not a GREAT tip, but it boosts adrenaline and may even turn you into a chatty Kathy. For those a little shy in approaching people, coffee will perk you up and allow you to chase the shots!

Have fun!

Photography is such a fun thing to do. You are the artist so there is no right or wrong. Just abide by laws and enjoy yourself. Take photos of things which are interesting to you. If you love your image, that is all that counts.

Fear of Flying by Jamie Bright

When I was younger, I used to love flying. Traveling to new places, wondering what awaited me at the other end. Living in England, I loved how flights would consist of meals and free drinks and snacks as almost all flights would be international.

The journey to the airport and the rituals of checking in and waiting at the gate excited me. Seeing the people waiting for the flight, wondering where they were going. Curious to see who would be on my flight and whether I’d be stuck next to a nice person or a grumpy one.

In fact, I had even learnt to fly a little when I was younger, once piloting a small plane and laughing at how tight my parachute was wedged up my but crack, smashing my private parts.

But probably since 9/11 or sometime after that, my love of flying diminished and turned into fear.

Nowadays, thoughts appear in the days leading up to a flight.

Just worrying because I know the fear will be there.

These get worse on day of flight, and I find myself sinking back into my skin and not wanting to talk.
Thoughts of take off and something like a bird strike or missile shooting the plane down while climbing start to enter my mind.

I no longer look around wondering where people are going. I find myself questioning people’s reasons for being at the airport instead. Negativity.

Then I actually get into the plane. Claustrophobia kicks in. During take off the engine sound worries me and I think we are going to drop. Especially when it weans and wanes.
Until we level off, I think many thoughts and scenarios in my mind. Will the plane drop straight, nosedive, glide down – are we above water or ground. What about my family. Ugh.

Engine noises throughout flights disrupt me so I try to drown it out with music or noise canceling headphones. This is probably causing the people next to me to think I’m just some rude guy with loud music.

All the while my brain races with thoughts as to who is on the plane and what may happen to it.

Are we above water or land, will it be a hard landing, how do I get to my family in the time the plane falls. Will I pass out from lack of oxygen or will I feel the impact.

With 30 minutes left in the flight my mind begins to relax.

Then it all begins again, knowing I need to get home.